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'AITA for 'financially big-footing' my in-laws?' 'My MIL called me a jerk.'

'AITA for 'financially big-footing' my in-laws?' 'My MIL called me a jerk.'


"AITA for 'financially big-footing' my in-laws?"

I (39M) am a few years older than my wife (32F), but we met (5 years ago) at very different phases of our lives. I finished uni at 19 years old, lucked into a great position in finance and became a partner of my firm, making me quite wealthy at a young age.

My wife went through several changes of heart about her career path, involving two advanced degrees, through which her parents supported her. She had only recently started her first full time, “professional” job when we met.

Her parents’ (born to wealthy families on the last bits of their fortunes) financial support engendered a belief on their part that she ought to pay heed to their wishes. While my wife found this behavior bothersome, she is conflict-averse and mostly acceded to their demands.

Her parents offered to pay for our wedding. It quickly became clear that they felt that their contribution entitled them to make most of the choices (including guest list), none of which were congenial to my now-wife.

The conflict clearly wore on her, so told her parents that we appreciated their kind offer, but that we would pay for the wedding ourselves. Perhaps having judged my financial situation by my modest lifestyle, they claimed we were “risking our finances” merely to have our way. I just laughed and said that wasn’t a worry.

We ended up having a swanky destination wedding, accommodations on us, for our friends and close family only. After we got married, we experienced the same crap. Case in point – vacations.

My MIL inherited a beach house, and she insisted that we spend our vacations there at a particular time, to coincide with my SIL, even though the dates were convenient neither to us nor SIL.

When my wife pointed this out, her mother’s response was that it would be difficult to accommodate us at other times, as they had set plans with friends over the course of the summer; that since she and FIL were generously opening their house to us, we needed to conform to her schedule. Not again!

I had been thinking about getting a summer place myself, so I bought one in my wife’s favorite area. It happens to be bigger and nicer than MIL’s. MIL reacted peevishly to the news, claiming that we were spitefully “bankrupting ourselves to show her up” and that vacations should be spent with family.

I replied that, as to the latter point, they were welcome to come spend time with their daughter and SIL (who is great!)…on dates convenient for us. As to the former, I said, that while I consider it gauche to talk to about money, she should rest easy about our finances... the new place amounted to less than my last year’s partnership distribution; and that they would be wise to stop trying to exert control with money, since to do it successfully requires an actual fortune,and not just the memory of one as embodied in a broken-down beach house. My MIL called me a jerk. I realize I spoke pretty harshly, but I think I was justified.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Artistic_Tough5005 said:

NTA I think you handled that well. Truly it’s not her business what you spend your money on or how much you have or if you bankrupt yourselves.

Initial_Potato5023 said:

NTA. She started it YOU finished it.

Shichimi88 said:

Nta. Financial freedom and less stress. Mil is just sour she got showed up.

TellThemISaidHi said:

ESH. Your whole family sounds insufferable. I'm expected to pick sides in the battle over whose beach house is better?

Not_A_Pilgrim said:

NTA. You won't have to do that again! One and done, my favorite way to do things.

nerd_is_a_verb said:

NTA. It’s fine when she does it. Dishes it but can’t take it. MIL is pathetic. Even if you’re wrong or rude about the extent of her wealth, you did nothing but mirror her behavior back to her. I laughed.

KimB-booksncats-11 said:

I'm going with NTA. Your response was a little harsh but your in-laws are trying to control you with money and don't seem to take no well at all. You're awesome.

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